I’ve been quite critical of DC and how their creative teams keep jumping around for many of the books. In the first 2 years of many titles, we have seen many a creative team switch after only a single story arc, which sometimes does not give a strong indication of the future of where DC, its editors, and its writers and artists want to take a character. We saw that one of DC’s books lost its writer after a single issue (James Robinson removed himself as writer of Masters of the Universe after issue 1 – OK, it’s not in the New 52 but it’s still DC!) and that seemed like a huge shock. Well today, we saw a bigger bomb drop when 2 writers announced they were no longer associated with the books they had signed on for with DC… before their first issues even made it to print to pick up.
The first announcement of the day was by Andy Diggle who announced via his Twitter feed that he was no longer associated with the upcoming run on Action Comics. Yes, the run that’s getting huge advertising press in the last few weeks of DC comics in the final few pages of almost every book – including a multi-page spread in several books released today – has left the project. As his Twitter feed states:
However, not one to hold back on promoting what else he is working on, Diggle followed up with this:
I think this latter tweet was used more to show that he is still around and his work can still be found for many of his fans, of which I, for one, am enjoying his run on Doctor Who right now and have enjoyed The Losers in the past.
But think about that… One of DC’s flagship titles is losing its writer before the much-anticipated and highly advertised issue hits the stands? That’s shocking! But, hot off the heels of that announcement on Twitter this morning comes a second announcement of another creator leaving the books he is signed on for and have yet to be released!
We previously announced the news that not only is Geoff Johns leaving the pages of Green Lantern after issue #20, but that the entire GL family creative team was getting a major shakeup as well. With that shakeup, Joshua Hale Fialkov was slated to be the writer on both Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns, but based on what he posted to his own blog earlier today it appears that plans are changing…
[quote]Just a quick note to confirm what everyone knows, I am no longer the writer of GLC and Red Lanterns for DC Comics. There were editorial decisions about the direction of the book that conflicted with the story I was hired to tell, and I felt that it was better to let DC tell their story the way they want. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’ll miss working with the entire Green Lantern team.[/quote]
Wow. Now, I’ll be honest… I was quite critical of Fialkov’s work in Alpha: Big Time #2 recently and although I can appreciate I, Vampire I never continued to pick up the book (with DC I was leaning more towards the super hero genre – I didn’t even continue to pick up All-Star Western as an example and I love Palmiotti and Gray as writers), mostly due to the fact that there are only so many monthlies I can get. To say that I may not be his biggest fan is true, but I cannot say that he’s a bad writer at all. His work is not suiting me as something I want to read, and that’s fine; you can’t please all the people all the time. However, reading his I, Vampire run I do have respect for him as a writer and I know he is talented.
So why did I just say that? Because it could be inferred that the writers are the problem, but when I look back at things this may not be the case. I don’t recall a time when so many creative team changes happened so frequently as that within the New 52. (I could be wrong – this is just a statement based upon my own memory.) But what else has happened with DC since the New 52 launched?
- The announcement that Gail Simone was removed from Batgirl. It turns out she never left for the long haul, but was gone for a brief interim story arc currently underway, but the story making the rounds was that it was an editorial decision to remove her as the writer on the book.
- Rob Liefeld publicly stated that he had major editorial issues with DC and severed his relationship with them.
Now, many may say that Liefeld was just causing trouble because they are not the biggest fans of his work at times, but let’s truly look at this. He called out the editorial staff as being the reason he was leaving DC. Simone mentioned she was removed as a result of the editor on the book. Diggle played it safe by not commenting on the specifics of his departure, but Fialkov explicitly said that there were editorial decisions about where the title was going and it clashed with the story he wanted to tell. So… If his story clashed with the goal of the editor, why bring him on to the book in the first place?
The question I am posing right now is: What is going on at DC? It seems like some writers are working smoothly with their editors to turn out quality product month over month (I’m looking at you, Batman people) but then other books just cannot get their foothold (Green Arrow is on its… who knows how many creative teams since it relaunched). In the days of old, there was at least the perception of synergy, but maybe I’m simply nostalgic for those days when the internet was not around to get this information. Well, it is here, and it’s gonna happen and we have to deal. Maybe there needs to be a better matchup of creative juices BEFORE you bring on a creative team – doing these kind of changes after some major announcements just don’t seem to work well on a book. It lowers confidence in them and the team behind the scenes to bring me a quality book month after month. I am a die-hard Green Lantern family reader and collect all 4 titles (soon to be 5), but now… Now, I’m not sure of how great a story I am going to get from several of these books because there is obviously conflict. Although Robert Venditti, whom I love as a writer thanks to X-O Manowar and his recent continued presence on Demon Knights, and who is also taking over from Johns on Green Lantern, will be co-plotting GLC going forward… Is that enough?
This is not the creative team that pitched for the book and won. This is (sorry to say, as I am sure everyone involved is quite talented otherwise DC would not have even called them) the backup team. If the stories these guys wanted to pitch were the winners, they would have been chosen in the first place, right? Instead, they’ve been called up due to an opening on the ice. (Yes, a hockey reference.) But the question here really is: is the problem with the writers or the editors? Where and what is the conflict? Where is the resolution management? Why go to the trouble of moving forward with a team if the team itself cannot even get themselves organized? That’s a team destined to not make the playoffs without some miracle. This is almost like that movie The Replacements where a backup team comes in and surprises everyone… but there, they had a new team and a new coach. I’ve seen no information about the editors also making a change, just the writers, so who knows what’s really going on.
This kind of activity lowers my confidence in DC. I pay for quality books, but of late (in my personal opinion only) DC has started to lose the quality that they have been building for 2 years with this relaunched world, with some obvious exceptions.
But I pose this question again: What is going on, DC? Get your ducks in a row. Get your team working as a team, not as a bunch of individuals. Look at the amazing collaboration you’ve had with creative teams and editors in the past and use that – take the Wolfman/Pérez creative team in launching The New Teen Titans in the 80s as an example. There was guidance, but a lot of freedom to tell an amazing story. There was direction, but there was also the creator’s ability to turn it into something amazing. Leverage that. Bring that back. Otherwise, dare I say it, my DC pull list is going to drop significantly. You may not care about one individual doing that, but I am fairly certain I’m not alone.
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